LINGUIST List 21.2897

Tue Jul 13 2010

Support: French & Discourse Analysis: PhD Student, U of Louvain, Belgium

Editor for this issue: Matthew Lahrman <>

        1.    Liesbeth Degand, French & Grammaticalization of Discourse Markers: PhD Student, University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve), Belgium

Message 1: French & Grammaticalization of Discourse Markers: PhD Student, University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve), Belgium
Date: 12-Jul-2010
From: Liesbeth Degand <>
Subject: French & Grammaticalization of Discourse Markers: PhD Student, University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve), Belgium
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Institution/Organization: University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve) Department: Institute for Language and Communication Web Address:

Level: PhD

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Discourse Analysis Grammaticalization of Discourse Markers Required Language(s): French (fra)


The Institute for Language & Communication of the University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) offers a PhD position on the topic: Emerging discoursemarkers in the right periphery. The successful candidate will be hosted by theResearch Center Valibel- Discours & Variation ( and workin close collaboration with researchers involved in projects on thegrammaticalization of discourse markers.

The aim of the PhD-project is to investigate to what extent the right periphery ofthe utterance favours the emergence of new discourse meanings, especially in thearea of discourse markers. The right periphery represents the end of a message ata moment in time where the message itself exists and is manifest to both speakerand hearer. Therefore the right periphery is the natural place to comment on amessage or to express expectations pertaining to it towards the hearer.Recent work (e.g. Degand & Fagard in press) has shown that the occurrence ofdiscourse markers in the right periphery is a fairly recent phenomenon and that themigration of discourse markers from initial and medial position goes hand in handwith semantic change. From a synchronic point of view, markers appearing at theright of their host unit of discourse are exceptional (cf. Fraser 1999); however ifthey do appear in this position, they tend to have an interpersonal function (cf.Brinton 1996), rather than an information-structuring one. They serve to confirmshared assumptions, check or express understanding, request confirmation,express deference or are used for face-saving (cf. Brinton 1996: 37). Right-peripheral constructions reflect or invite attitudes towards the message or thesituation rather than contributing to the message itself. This hypothesis seems tobe confirmed by certain patterns of language change, since the right peripheryseems to be involved in the rise of modal constructions such as modal particles.The first aim of the PhD-project is thus to discover whether one can establish a"discourse marker paradigm" on the right periphery in speech and/or writing insynchrony.

The second aim of the project is to discover whether such a potential discoursemarker paradigm can be explained in diachronic terms. Following Traugott (1982:256) we will assume that "[i]f there occurs a meaning-shift which, in the process ofgrammaticalization, entails shifts from one functional-semantic component toanother, then such a shift is more likely to be from propositional through textual toexpressive than in reverse direction.".Language of investigation will be French, preferably in contrast to one or moreother languages.

Profile: MA in Linguistics, (near) native command of French, very good knowledgeof English, acquaintance with grammaticalization theory, acquaintance with corpusanalyses, knowledge of French in diachrony

Applications Deadline: 07-Sep-2010

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Prof. Liesbeth Degand        Institute for Language and Communication        Place B. Pascal 1        Louvain-la-Neuve 1348        Belgium

Contact Information:         Prof Liesbeth Degand

Page Updated: 13-Jul-2010